Thursday, July 22, 2010

Promote, promote, promote by Vivian Zabel

Each year I attend two writing conferences: OWFI (Oklahoma Writers' Federation Inc.) writing conference the first of May and The Muse on Line Writers' Conference in October. I always bring at least one or two excellent ideas away with me.

OWFI had Dana Stabenow as the keynote speaker in May. I don't usually take notes during the keynote speech at the Friday night banquet, but she gave some excellent promotion tips.

You don't know Dana Stabenow? Then please go to your local Wal-Mart, Target, or bookstore, or Amazon, and find her books. She writes mysteries (of course) which take place in her home state Alaska. She is becoming more well-known all the time, and she is a best selling author.

One strong point brought out by Dana, publishers don't do much for promotion unless the author is already famous. That isn't a surprise to most of us. Even James Patterson pitches his books on television. Therefore, she decided she would do a major promotion for her books herself, using the Internet.

For her first major promotion she used her website to present one chapter of the book per month starting four months before its release, and she used only the first four chapters, no more. She gave a free ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of the book each month for those four months.

Dana wrote and posted a transitional chapter linking book one to the next book, or the book before the current book to the current book. She covered what happened to her main characters (which include a wolf) and community from one novel to the next.

The Stabenow URL ( appeared on everything, everywhere she could place it. Her website offers great advice for writers, too.

She paid for a professional trailer, which she discovered was not cost effective. Now one not done by a professional, but of good quality, does the job.

After the first book she promoted so strongly, Dana adjusted her procedure some. She began to do only one except before the release of a book, but continued adding a transitional chapter between the previous book and the current one soon to be released. She also offered an ARC as a prize a couple of times before the release of a novel, rather than one each month for four months.

Dana puts out five newsletters each year, with an active "buy" link in each e-newletter.

One thing Dana Stabenow covered, too, was building a platform (sometimes called a marketing plan), by which potential buyers can be reached. Facebook, Twitter, other social networking groups, and building followers for one's blog and website are a few ways to build a platform. Also, collecting email addresses through having people subscribe to her newsletter helps.

I am already using some of these ideas to promote my newest novel, to be released in October, and encourage other authors to do the same. I set up a website for Stolen, the novel, and incorporated some of Dana Stabenow's tips. I'll share any successes.

Since I face surgery tomorrow morning and will be rather limited for two months, I may not be back for a while. However, keep learning and writing and improving.

Vivian Zabel
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap
4RV Publishing


Vivian Zabel said...

I hope Dana's ideas I'm sharing help you, too.

Morgan Mandel said...

Good luck with your surgery.

I'm wondering about my website. It's there but I use my blog more. I'm wondering if it's a waste of money to keep it, since I don't have much time to update it. I concentrate more on my blog, since it's more active. I do offer excerpts from my books and the other things mentioned I also do.

Morgan Mandel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Great post.

All the best with you surgery. Heal quickly and get back to us.


Ricky Bush said...

Thanks, Vivian. Every stitch of a promotional idea helps.